Why People-Oriented Analytics Are More Important Than Ever | 7wData

Why People-Oriented Analytics Are More Important Than Ever | 7wData

In the simplest terms, a human resources department is about supporting the people in your organization. But running an HR department, or these days often titled “People Team”—especially now—is anything but simple. For starters, you must be a soft skills (or as we at Udemy have recently renamed them: power skills) master. But if you rely onlyon power skills (which, let me stress, are key), then you are living in an antiquated Mad Men past, leaving far too much people management to chance, ultimately risking the well-being and growth of your employees and organization.

Enter the field of people analytics, a specialty that collects and applies data-driven insights to improve hiring decisions, enhance employees' work life, and introduce better workforce processes that ultimately connects people strategy to business strategy.

A people analytics practitioner and leader knows how to use technological tools that take much of the guesswork out of smart people management. These software platforms and tools are invaluable in improving decision-making by providing objective analysis of any HR situation. But these tech tools won’t get the job done on their own. Great HR employees must invest time in learning how to use data analytics tools.

For example, by using data, people analytics can show leaders the investment needed for a new hire to be onboarded and fully productive. The data can even give insights into why a company has high turnover. It can also shed light on whether learning and development programs are effective, or tell you what factors influence the decision to leave within a year, or two years, etc. Knowing how to make use of this unbiased data will save your company energy, time, and money.

In this interview, I talk with Dr. Tyrone Smith, Jr., Udemy's director of people analytics, to shed more light on the skills a people analytics professional needs to succeed, and why this emerging area of HR is so critical for building a successful 21st-century organization.

Why are we hearing so much about people analytics now?

Smith: While the people analytics and/or data science discipline may have been around sometime, it has definitely accelerated during the pandemic. Understanding how people work, the best ways to communicate with them, and the increased value of teamwork and empathy have been huge drivers changing the business landscape during the pandemic. We are now at a stage of redefining the discipline. Analytics goes beyond reporting. It is more than simply presenting facts or figures, in other words, because people analytics offer insight into what the data represents and how it can be used to better the employee experience. From tailoring learning and educational programs to match employee skills and strengths to providing insight into common pain points in the business, people analytics can help create a highly tailored employee experience. That is why, in this new era, many organizations are adopting people analytics as a business imperative to focus on delivering value to the business by looking for patterns at scale around talent in the workforce and linking it back to the business and people strategy.

With all the shifts happening in today’s labor market, there's a new focus on analytics to help organizations keep their talent practices and pipeline strong. This is so important since an organization's people are the center of everything. Analytics also help improve the ways organizations identify, attract, retain, and develop talent. The decisions being made are shifting away from intuition and becoming far more data-informed, which lets leaders unlock the power of their people. The outcome is a data-informed culture that dramatically helps minimize biases and ultimately improves performances.

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